St Colmcille (524 - 597):
Founder of Monastries
Colmcille was born in Gartan, County Donegal; his baptismal name was Crimthann. He was educated at Moville and possibly Strangford and under St Finian at Clonard, where he was ordained. He founded monasteries in Swords, Durrow, Kells and Derry. He is said to have inscribed the Gospels and instructed others in the art of illuminating texts. One of these Gospel books, the Book of Durrow, is now in the library of Trinity College, Dublin. He sailed with twelve companions to Scotland from Derry in 563 and founded the Abbey of Iona. He returned briefly to Ireland in 575 to attend the Council of Drumcett. He wrote poetry in Celtic and Latin, notably the Latin hymn Altus Prosator, and a Latin manuscript of the Psalms is said to be in his handwriting. His biography was written by St Adamnan. His feast-day is on the 9th of June.